Why Harrogate Town's players were read the riot act during half-time break in FA Trophy final

"All's well that ends well" was Simon Weaver's assessment following Harrogate Town's FA Trophy success over Concord Rangers.

Tuesday, 4th May 2021, 11:24 am
Updated Tuesday, 4th May 2021, 11:26 am
Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver with the FA Trophy following his side's 1-0 win over Concord Rangers at Wembley Stadium. Picture: Matt Kirkham
Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver with the FA Trophy following his side's 1-0 win over Concord Rangers at Wembley Stadium. Picture: Matt Kirkham

Josh Falkingham's 76th-minute goal decided a contest which Town dominated for long periods, though the Sulphurites' chief was not entirely satisfied by what he saw out on the Wembley turf.

And he revealed that he let rip at his players during the half-time interval having witnessed an opening 45-minute performance which he deemed unacceptable.

"I was absolutely fuming at half-time," Weaver told the Harrogate Advertiser.

"I just thought that we hadn't turned up, which is very unusual for us as a club for us to not be anywhere near our identity - and that hurt me.

"It hurt me because we had teed this game up as 'let's do it for the fans back home who couldn't be with us', but we weren't doing it.

"We weren't delivering in terms of energy and tenacity and that's why the lads got the reaction they did at half-time, however all's well that ends well.

"These lads have made their mark, again, in Harrogate Town's history and I'm delighted."

While comfortably the better side over the course of the afternoon, Town failed to reach the levels that they hit during their previous visit to Wembley - August's National League play-off final win over Notts County

And Weaver conceded that his team's performance last summer probably raised his expectations too high, as well as acknowledging how effectively Concord's spoiling tactics worked.

He added: "We've got the result in the end and sometimes you have to accept that you're not going to play your best. Probably our performance at Wembley last time raised my own expectations, but cup finals aren't always the same.

"Notts County came out and had a go, they tried to play through us, so that played into our hands, whereas Concord obviously set up to frustrate us.

"They did well at breaking the play up and because we didn't move the ball quickly enough, the pace of the game slowed and that suited them rather than us.

"We did get the job done, though, we found a way and that was the important thing."

Having shocked many a team during their progression from National League North to League Two in recent years, it's fair to say that Harrogate are far more used to playing the role of the underdog as opposed to starting games as overwhelming favourites.

And Weaver believes that the pressure which comes with being expected to win was another factor in his players not managing to find top gear.

"There was a lot to lose today and it would have been a black mark on an otherwise very good season had we been beaten," he continued.

"We had a lot to lose and with that comes pressure. We were the underdogs last time we came here and there haven't been many games in League Two this season where we've been the favourites.

"Teams think 'it's little old Harrogate Town', but Concord obviously rated us and stopped us playing and it can be hard when a team doesn't come on to you.

"But, the second half was a bit better, we had more bite about us and I think we deserved the win in the end."